Facebook Likes, Twitter Links & SEO
Chances are you’re familiar (at least vaguely) with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which involves doing what you can to ensure your business will be found through the search engines. This is a science and an art, and involves a slew of things including designing your website in a search engine friendly way with good architecture, clean code and by writing good keyword-rich content. What you might not know about yet is SMO (Social Media Optimization) which recognizes the increasing importance of social media in your search engine ranking.
In an Online Marketing Report (Jan 2011) by Bruce Clay, it is noted that Bing and Facebook have formed a partnership that allows Bing to factor Facebook “Likes” into search rankings and display the information in search results. Both Google and Bing have confirmed that they are now calculating the authority of Twitter and Facebook users and are using this information to determine the weight of tweeted and posted links.
One of the most important factors in SEO is still the inbound link. This is when another website or blog links to your website/blog. It tells the search engines that your content is popular and relevant – i.e. it has value to someone else. In SMO the search engines will also be considering how your content is being linked to through things like the Facebook “Like Button” and in Twitter tweets. Here’s an example: If I like a pair of jeans on the Levi’s website, I might click the “Like” button which effectively tells my Facebook friends that I like that product, and allows them to check it out themselves by clicking on the link.
I also found this video by Matt Cutts at Google HQ to be interesting (you’ll find lots of great SEO-realted articles and videos like this on the StepForth blog). In the video Matt admits that although Google is starting to factor social media into SEO, the effect is still quite light. I imagine that this will only increase as time moves on. He also warns that it’s important to build real relationships on Twitter – not just to get as many followers as possible. If you’re not on Twitter yet make sure that you plan this into your strategy for 2011.
*If you want a rubber stamp that says “Like” or “Dislike” you can find it here.